Thursday, January 29, 2009

Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Metro on Zoning Issue

Suburban NIMBY got Metro nowhere, but the end--to the tune of $70,000 so far--is in sight:
The settlement, which must still be approved by the court, requires the Metropolitan Government to train nearly 100 employees and officials who make zoning and land use decisions on the requirements of the FHA and RLUIPA, to appoint a compliance officer to receive complaints and ensure compliance with the settlement, and to provide periodic reports to the Justice Department. As part of the settlement, the Metropolitan Government rescinded the amendment to its zoning code that affected Teen Challenge and adopted a reasonable accommodation policy for individuals with disabilities.

The Metropolitan Government will also pay a $20,000 civil penalty to the United States and $50,000 to participants in Teen Challenge’s program. Monetary relief to Teen Challenge is being determined by the final court order in the related case of Teen Challenge International, Nashville Headquarters, et al. v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.
When this blew up in the local media, the blame was placed almost exclusively on Metro Council, but just keep in mind that no council zoning issues pass without a Mayor's signature.

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